Wednesday, February 27, 2008

pussycat, pussycat...

Life has been nuts over the last couple of weeks. More on that later. For now, I would like to introduce you to the newest member of our family. Sami.

How could you not love this face!!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

i've got a pocketful of dimes...

I've been following a bunch of gadget blogs lately and am blown away by some of the stuff that people are coming up with. Some of it is very exciting either due to practicality or coolness. Some of it, is just freakin' hysterical. I'm amazed at what companies will market and what people will actually buy. Case in point.

This is the 4-in-1 Hot Dog Maker. Perfect for when a pot of boiling water is just too complicated.

Thanks to the fine people at The Uber Review for bringing this one to my attention.


You may not like her music, but you've got to love Dolly Parton's integrity. Today, she announced that she is postponing her upcoming tour in support of her new album due to back trouble. In a statement released today Parton said:

"I know I have been breaking my neck and bending over backwards trying to get my new Backwoods Barbie CD and world tour together, but I didn't mean to hurt myself doing it! But hey, you try wagging these puppies around a while and see if you don't have back problems. Seriously though, the doctors said I will be good as new in a few weeks, and I can't wait to get back out there. See you soon, Dolly."

The world would be a different place if we all spoke so candidly.

Get well soon Dolly!

i got lost in the song...

Jim Cuddy

Last night, Elizabeth, Erica, Deb and I went to the Blue Rodeo concert at Hamilton Place. Even though this was my 6th time seeing them live, they continue to surprise and amaze me with their live performances. On this tour, the entire first half of the show has a stripped down, semi-acoustic feel. They played on the front half of the stage in front of a black curtain, Glenn Milchem armed only with his snare drum. It gave the show a small club kind of vibe. For a moment, I almost forgot that we were in a theatre that seats over 2000! It was so great to hear some of their classics in the different arrangements. Bad Timing was fantastic with just two guitars, harmonica, and just a bit of harmony from Greg Keelor. It was also awesome to hear them do No Where You Go/Tell Me Your Dream with the fantastic Melissa McClelland. Her voice is incredible!

Melissa McClelland

The highlight of the set was Greg singing Dark Angel, with only Bob Packwood on keys backing him up. He slowly walked across the very front of the stage as he sang. A showstopper!

Greg Keelor

The second half rocked as one would expect from Blue Rodeo. When Jim Cuddy announced that it was almost the end of the show and encouraged people to come up to the front and dance, we and about 50 others bolted up to the stage. This gave me the opportunity to get some great close up shots.

Jim and Greg performing the opening of Heart Like Mine

We danced and sang our hearts out when Greg led us through Hasn't Hit Me Yet. I love watching the smile on his face as he listens to us belting out his brilliant lyrics.

One of the many things that I adore about Blue Rodeo is that they always invite up and coming musicians to join them on stage. In addition to Melissa McClelland, Luke Doucet, who also provided backing vocals earlier in the night, and opening act Cuff the Duke joined them for part of their encore. When I got home and was suffering from my usual post-concert insomnia, I downloaded albums from all 3 of these excellent artists.

Luke Doucet and Cuff the Duke's Wayne Petti

It was a great night of music that I will repeating again on February 29 at Massey Hall. I can't wait to see the boys in my favourite Toronto concert venue.

If you're interested, there are more pics on my flickr stream.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

on the cover of the rolling stone...

Hi. My name is Vivian. And I have a magazine problem.

Seriously, I have a pretty serious magazine addiction. I have many subscriptions, more than I really have time to read. But that doesn't stop me from buying more. So this is perfect for me!

This coffee table has slots that allow you to clear stacks of magazines out of the way but still have them easily accessible. A household item that both looks good and is practical. The Virgo in me is in heaven!

Available at uncommon goods.

feeling twitterpated...

I can't say that I understand the social media phenomenon that is Twitter, but for some reason I felt compelled to try it out. It seems that almost every podcaster I listen to is on Twitter. What is it? Basically, it's a micro-blog where you can enter 140 characters at a time and give a quick update of what you are doing or feeling at a particular time. My first reaction to this was, "why?" and I'm still not sure that I can answer that question. But something is drawing me to it. So, I signed up. At the moment I am following the "tweets" of 5 people and I have 1 person following me. (Thanks Airdrie!) I have to admit that it feel kinds of strange to update the mundane details of my life online. Also, I don't think that I personally know a lot of people who are using Twitter, so I'm not sure who to follow or who will actually care about my updates. Maybe I'll use it as my opportunity to network with other bloggers. I'm not really sure, but I thought I would check it out. So if you are on Twitter, look me up. I'm vivh.

who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

I picked up this lovely bottle in the LCBO Vintages section last week.

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2006 from South Africa is a bold, flavourful wine with an aroma of tobacco and a ripe plum and peppery taste with a long, smooth finish. And only $14.75 at the LCBO. I've had more expensive wines that taste like crap in comparison. Definitely one I will pick up again.

today is the greatest day I've ever known...

Today, I met my brand new, day and a half old, totally gorgeous niece!

Steve's brother David and his awesome wife Tera had a gorgeous baby girl on Thursday night. Amelia Elizabeth came into this world around 9pm at 7lbs 9ounces. She is the first grandchild in our little family and my very first niece. I am blown away by the magic that is an infant child. Watching her sleeping quietly in her incubator this afternoon was completely overwhelming. I am excited by the prospect of watching her grow. Oh, and I also plan to be the aunt that spoils her rotten. That is my job.

I'm sure that Amelia will be the subject of many a post in the future. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

you were on my mind...

I am generally a happy person but lately I've been very grumpy. I know that it's mostly due to my job sucking ass at the moment. And I know I will get through this spell, but I seem to spend too much time whining and feeling sorry for myself these days.

Reality check.

I was chatting with a friend from university the other day. He told me that one of our classmates was very ill with cancer. It started as breast cancer and has since spread. The prognosis is not good. She's about 35 years old, married, the mother of three children. Back in school, she was a blast to be around. Always positive, the life of the party, guaranteed to cheer you up when you're down and would always make you laugh your ass off. I can't think of anyone who didn't like her. To think of her fighting for her life, ravaged by this hideous disease makes me sad, but mostly really, really angry. It's just not fair.

And today, one of my friends was in surgery for his third kidney transplant. That's right, I said third. You'd think that someone with such a serious health issue would be bitter and negative. But Brian is one of the most positive people I know. I have never once heard him complain about his condition. He lives life to the fullest and doesn't let his illness get in the way of enjoying life. He's been on my mind all day as I anxiously await news of how today's surgery went.

So really, my life is not so bad. Sure the job is not great but I'm healthy, have a great family and awesome friends. Can't really complain, can I?

EDIT: It's now 3 days after Brian's kidney transplant and both he and his donor are doing amazingly well. Terri (the donor) will likely be discharged tomorrow. Brian is boasting the best kidney function he has had in 25 years and will, if all goes well, be discharged on Monday. As I write this, I am breathing a huge sigh of relief and tears are welling up in my eyes.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

pump it up

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more ridiculous...

This is the Wine Rack. Not only does it hold 750ml of your favourite beverage, but it increases your cup size by 2 full cups!

I am speechless.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

don't drink the water...

Just in time for the Superbowl, it's Papa Bert's Sippin' Seat!

Designed to help you sneak booze into sports stadiums, the Sippin' Seat holds 750ml of warm or cold liquid. That's an entire bottle of wine!

These kinds of products totally crack me up. Remember this one?

And you have to watch the movie that demos the Sippin' Seat. It's almost dirty!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

winter wonderland

ahhh...snow day...

After a spell of rather tropical weather (for Canada that is) we were hit with a snow storm today. I have a bit of an addiction to The Weather Network so after consulting the website on Thursday afternoon and reading the weather warnings, I decided to plan accordingly. When I announced to my boss and assistant that I would take some work home just in case I could not make the commute in due to the storm they both looked at me as if I had three heads. At that moment it was a spring-like afternoon in Toronto. Sunny, warm, gorgeous. All of the snow from our previous storm had long since melted away. Obviously, they hadn't heard the latest forecast. I was relieved to wake up to a fresh blanket of snow. Now they would know I wasn't just gunning for a free day off. I checked the forecast and traffic report and it didn't look good. I decided not to attempt the commute, even though the GO trains appeared to be operating on schedule. I was confident that I could get to work in good time but afraid of a 5-hour trip home. When I received the email shortly after 9:30am stating that the university would close at 11am, I was very happy to have not made the trek into Toronto. And since we were closing, I felt no need to dig into the knapsack full of work that I had brought home. So what did I do? First, I finished the birthday blanket that I had been knitting for my mother-in-law. And I think it turned out pretty well.

This is the Glowing Colours Afghan made from Lion Brand Jiffy yarn. I only recently began attempting patterns that call for sewing pieces together. My sewing skills are rather limited. But I picked up a fantastic book that has given me the confidence to attempt some knitting patterns that have scared the hell out of me in the past. Check it out! I sewed three separate pieces together and you can't even see the seams!

After that was done, Steve and I ventured outside to clear the snow from the driveway. Thankfully, one of our kind neighbours had plowed the sidewalk with his snowblower, giving us a clear path to start from. It didn't take us long to dig out, but I did think back to our December storm when Samantha and Corey were visiting from Regina. That storm had delayed their trip home by more than a day. We were happy to have our guests stay for an extra day, as we don't see them very often. And as it turns out, Samantha is a fantastic snow-shoveler. Corey and I had no problem staying inside the warm house while Steve and Samantha braved the cold to clear out the driveway.

Sam, you rock! You can come back anytime. You can even bring Corey with you!

It's now late Friday night and the snow is still falling albeit slowly. There is a fresh blanket on the ground that will need clearing in the morning but that's fine by me. Winter is one of the things I love about Canada. There is something magical about this season that I can't quite put into words. But I love it!